July 11 - So, let's see...what all have I neglected to blog about recently? Well, I suppose I should tell you that my comic book classes for later today and next Saturday have been canceled. Darn it. Well, at least my last two workshops were well attended. I presented my cartooning spiel a couple of days ago right here in WOMP's hometown of Prairie du Chien, Wisconsin. It was part of our library's Summer reading program, so it drew (ha ha - a pun!) a fairly large crowd of kids (forty or so?). With the exception of a girl who appeared to be in her tweens, most of the crowd was very young (well, excluding parent-types). That meant a heavy emphasis on drawing silly or gross things (for example, my character, LIF-EL - who resembles "a living booger" - was very popular), and less focus on "how to." Even so, I showed the kids how to break down things into shapes, touched upon facial proportions, showed and explained several cartoon strip/comic book storytelling hints and tips, and even demonstrated my patented "Scribble-Dogs" method of finding inspiration/exercising imagination (OK...I'll describe that further some day, but, in a nutshell, it is similar to looking for figures in cloud formations). Afterward, I was asked to draw the kids' names from a bucket so that they could pick out prizes. The selection was a little thin, but I added the drawings from my lecture with the other prizes so that every kid could win something! So, one by one, I called out names, and was (egotistically) amazed that the first several kids chose my drawings over Beanie Babies, teddy bears (with the Wisconsin "W" on them and everything), T-shirts, and McDonald's gift certificates. OK, OK...so the two inflatable "guitars" were early choices also, but, for the most part, kids wanted my artwork! Unfortunately, when all of the gifts were given, I still had one name left; Emily, a teensy little girl of about five years. Fortunately, my arm hadn't fallen off, so I drew a special piece just for her. Since she had earlier volunteered that she liked to draw princesses, I drew a grown-up version of her, complete with crown, and called it "Princess Emily." Well, although some of the boys could not believe I'd just drawn such a girlie thing ("without no horns or anything," as one pointed out), Emily was thrilled. Seeing her ear-to-ear smile was like a prize that I had won. A month earlier, I had a much different, yet just as rewarding, experience when I presented my lecture at the public library in Cobb, Wisconsin. Only a handful of kids attended, but they were much more interested in the subject. It's a bit elitist, I suppose, but I think that I would much rather speak to ten kids who really want to learn about cartooning than forty who are "just there." At Cobb, I was able to more fully explain stuff to an appreciative few. These were kids who read Manga and Jeff Smith's Bone, had created their own characters, and wanted to know specific things, like how to draw a fist in three-quarter view.
(photo from the Cobb Library workshop)
That was pretty cool, too. In light of these two events, and another coming up in August, I guess it's not a big deal that my classes were canceled. Well, I guess I'll wrap this up for now. Next time, I'll tell you about some of my recent art projects. Here is your Comic Book Father Character of The Day -
Anakin Skywalker/Darth Vader!